Stuxnet’s creators may have had an earlier, stealthier plan to cripple Iran’s nuclear program

The Stuxnet virus is one of the best-known cyberweapons in recent history: between 2009 and 2010, it’s believed to have hijacked the centrifuge controls in Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, altering their operation and apparently breaking over 1,000 of the 9,000 machines. But in Foreign Policy, researcher Ralph Langner says that the virus was originally meant to do something much more devious. After researching both the Stuxnet code and how Iran managed its centrifuges, he believes that the routine we know today was a simpler and less sophisticated version of an earlier variant, which was meant not only to break the machines but to cover its tracks so well that nobody would notice.

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